“Klaus Florian Vogt is Bayreuth’s leading tenor – he has a unique voice, perfect technique and last but not least the perfect look for a leading man in the works of Wagner.” Thus the marketing hype for the Sony debut of the latest heldentenor held up as the great white hope. Having enjoyed his performance as the Prince on a recent Rusalka DVD, I wish I could respond more positively to what is on offer here.

Vogt kicks off with an aria from Der Freischütz – not a bad choice.  The voice is light but well suited to Weber (if occasionally phrases droop below the note). Mozart and Lortzing also sit comfortably in his clean, high, lyrical voice although here, as elsewhere, a shortage of engagement with the texts bedevil the performance. 

The major problems lie with Wagner. His Lohengrin has been praised in some quarters, but the “detached quality” of the Grail-knight, that some have described as other-worldly, feels to me simply a “detached quality”. His Winterstürme is similarly passionless, while his prize song comes across as a pretty enough lied but it doesn’t really sound like the reward is worth the winning. The orchestral support from the Berlin Opera Orchestra seems lacklustre even by the dismal standards of operatic recital discs – I’ve seldom heard the Lohengrin Act Three Prelude generate fewer volts.

Vogt redeems himself with two final renditions of Ach, so fromm from Flotow’s Martha and a live duet from Korngold’s Die Tote Stadt, but it’s too little too late for me.

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